We recently interviewed Stonewater Cove, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World in Missouri, USA. Here is what they had to say about their delightful hotel:
Tell us about the history of the building and area?
The lodge was designed so that it faces into the west and over the lake. In the morning you can watch the fog rise off the lake, and in the evening, I am absolutely convinced that this property has the most beautiful sunsets on the planet. The resort is surrounded by endless forest and fresh air. It takes about 20 minutes off the main highway to get to the property on a country road through the Mark Twain National Forest. One of my favorite things to say when people ask me if they’ll be heading north, south, east, or west on our country road is, “yes”, because you’ll travel them all – many times. This area used to be where the wood was collected for railroad ties. And growing tomatoes was the other major industry of the area before the dam was created in 1958.
What sets you apart from other hotels?
Many hotels have the perfect room, pool, the best service and food, but Stonewater Cove has all that plus almost 500 acres of an outdoor playground and a huge river arm lake to play in. Sure, some guests come to do nothing but relax in a rocking chair or lounge by the pool and read all day. That’s an option, and perfectly okay. But, most…just play all day. We have more than 20 miles of trails through the forest foothills that were all hand-carved by my family. Our ATV tours are the most popular activity at the resort…most people, including myself, end up doing it every day. And just so the adventure, adrenaline seekers know, it’s not just a flat, joy ride. It can be as easy as you want it to be, but we can make it very active and difficult for the more advanced riders, too. We also have zip lines for the same kind of “thrill”, clay shooting, archery, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, biking, and, in the summertime.. boat rides, and water sports of every kind. Our boat fleet is, pardon my language, “the shizzle”. We’ve got the best for everything – Chris-Craft for smooth, beautiful boat rides, Mastercraft for wakeboarding and tournament slalom skiing, and our family’s favorite, the Cobalt for tubing. It’s amazing how excited some of our guests get being pulled behind the boat for the first time in years! That’s our goal, and that’s what sets us apart…doing our best to make sure our guests have fun outside (while still having all the best in luxury).
How and why does Stonewater have the ‘cool’ factor?
Well, I think I might have just answered this question, but in short, we have the best ATV ride in the world, and we haven’t even talked about the rooms yet…
Tell us about any unique features?
Our bath tubs, which our marketing department has coined “heavenly bubble tubs”, are like sitting in a pot of boiling water – minus the burn. They’re also known as “champagne bubble baths”. I’m not much of a bath-goer, but members of my family are, and between them and our guests, I’ve heard they’re amazing. I’m very familiar with our showers, on the other hand, and they are fantastic. They’re large, beautifully tiled, and more importantly, like standing under a raining waterfall. So, that’s the bathroom things (oh, we have great toiletries too – I’m told to mention), but for the rooms, each one is uniquely decorated by my wife, who, no, isn’t a designer, but she spent a lot of time and visited just about every city within 500 miles collecting different pieces, and not a single person who’s been to the resort doesn’t say she definitely has the eye for it. The theme is a rustic elegance, and each room is decorated as intricately and comfortably as a home. We built coffered ceilings, painted the walls with a beautiful faux finish, and basically combined the best of homes with the best of hotels.
Why do you think the Small Luxury Hotels of the World brand fits Stonewater so well?
Our intent when designing the resort experience (and size) was to make it so that there were never anymore than 150-200 guests and owners on site at any one time. This allows us to offer our guests very personal service and the ability to customize their schedule pretty much however they choose. By the time you leave the resort, you’ll likely know at least a handful of our staff pretty well. Small Luxury Hotels of the World seems to understand that concept – that the smaller hotels can provide a kind of service you just can’t find in bigger hotels, even the very best. SLH maintains that the highest level of luxury is there, but also that something unique and inspiring is there…something that creates “lifelong memories” – which is their slogan in the 2010 directory, but was actually our slogan in a few different marketing things we did too.
Is there a signature dish / cocktail that can’t be found anywhere else in the world?
Well, we have a number of unique dishes, although I’m not entirely sure you couldn’t find them “anywhere” else in the world. Our Executive Chef is incredible. He’s won a lot of medals over the years, including 2 gold medals in the Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany (1988). Because we’re in the middle of nowhere, our menu rotates everyday. We have a very eclectic selection, everything from fried catfish to the finest of delicate foods. And even though you can find it all over the world, I’d say our French Onion Soup is, hands down, the best. As far as something you might not be able to find anywhere else…maybe our trio of filet roulade, shrimp and pork tenderloin with vegetables drizzled in espresso sauce…or lemon parmesan chicken. Okay, now I’m hungry.
What is currently happening at the hotel right now?
Right this minute, or…? Well, right now, we’re still pretty new; not even two years old. We’re doing a lot of marketing, and trying our best to fill it up, and luckily this year is much better than the last. We’re in the midst of preparing for our shoulder and peak seasons (spring through fall) and very ready to put the water sport boats back in the lake! It’s been in the 50′s this week, and it definitely feels like spring. Spring is my favorite time of year down here. The rest of the family would probably say fall, but I love the green, green, green. Right now we’re also scouting out trails for horseback riding in the national forest adjacent to ours – they’ll be ready to ride in April. The forest service is actually pretty excited about that, and so are we.
Where do you see the Hotel in the future?
In the same place we are now – doing all we can to give our guests the experience of a lifetime – and a place they want to come back to – again and again and again…!